"It's A Terrible River": Murray-Darling Gets The Blame For Political Troubles

    Ex-pollie calls famous river "very poor", while Tony Abbott sees red over Speedo piss-take.

    What you need to know...

    - Ex-Liberal pollie Pru Goward was very mean to the Murray-Darling Basin

    - Labor leader Bill Shorten promises casuals an easier path to permanent work

    - Liberal candidate Warren Mundine jokingly calls himself a "pimp"

    - GetUp pulls ad and apologises to surf lifesavers

    - Zali Steggall critics double down in tabloid interview

    - First election debate on April 29 broadcast on 7TWO

    We're not sure what the Murray-Darling Basin ever did to recently retired politician Pru Goward, but she hasn't forgotten it.

    “Governments have struggled with how do we solve sharing a very poor river. Let's face it, it’s a terrible river, between three states with all these competing interests.” @PruGoward on Murray Darling Basin #auspol #TheDrum

    "Governments have struggled with how do we solve sharing a very poor river," Goward said on ABC TV. "Let's face it, it's a terrible river..."

    Murray-Darling Basin supporters weren't just going to sit back and let this happen.

    @ABCthedrum @PruGoward I mean, how *dare* the river flow so far. And how *dare* the river form a natural border. And how *dare* the river not cope with massive over-extraction. Honestly, some rivers just don't know their place. #TheDrum #auspol

    @ABCthedrum @PruGoward Never used to be "a terrible river". I'm offended by that. The river has nourished families, & Dreaming, & native flora & fauna for 1000's of years. How long did it take the colonisers to destroy it? Not bloody long. Let's face it, you are a terrible person #MurrayDarlingBasin

    @ABCthedrum @PruGoward Typical clueless politician. The Darling at Bourke was flowing pretty well during the 1956 flood.. The system has survived droughts for thousands of years. Never been the same since Cotton growers got their greedy mitts on it.

    Opposition leader Bill Shorten was in Townsville, where he took an early morning run with former rugby league great Johnathan Thurston.

    Lukas Coch / AAP

    Shorten is campaigning for Labor MP Cathy O'Toole in Herbert. O'Toole holds the seat by a wafer thin 0.02%.

    He attended a military parade at Lavarack Barracks to mark the 68th anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong in the Korean War, in which 32 Australians were killed, 59 wounded and three taken prisoner.

    Shorten's main pitch was to Australia's 2.6 million casual workers.

    Lukas Coch / AAP

    He is promising laws that will allow a casual worker to request a permanent job after 12 months with the same company, if they work the same pattern of hours.

    "Too often, long-term casual work is used as a mechanism to pay workers less, deprive them of leave and make them easier to sack," Shorten said.

    Liberal candidate for the NSW south coast seat of Gilmore, Warren Mundine, was quoted in Nine media as saying you could describe him as "officially unemployed" or "a pimp".

    Mick Tsikas / AAP

    Campaigning near Bomaderry, Mundine joked about his career status being in limbo ahead of the election, given he had divested his business interests.

    "I suppose you'd call me officially unemployed," he said. "I could be called a pimp too because I'm living off the earnings of my wife at the moment."

    The couple who made headlines by laying into Warringah candidate Zali Steggall have tried to tamp down the resulting furore by... inviting a tabloid reporter into their house to talk about the whole thing some more.

    Dean Lewins / AAP

    You may recall Bridie Nolan and David Cameron, who ignited a Twitter melee recently after criticising Steggall, who had followed a tweet about the Christchurch murders with the hashtags #warringahvotes and #auspol.

    Steggall is running as an independent against former PM Tony Abbott, and the race is said to be tight. They are photographed above making nice on Wednesday at the ballot draw for Warringah.

    Cameron, who is Steggall's ex-husband, described her in a tweet as "opportunistic" and an "idiot", while Nolan — a lawyer who sees herself as "devastatingly experienced" — weighed in saying Steggall's tweet was "disgraceful" and that Steggall was embarrassing her own family.

    “I accept it reflects poorly on us,” Nolan says in the interview. "But my motto is the standard you walk past is the standard you accept … It was never done because she is running for federal election."

    Nolan goes on to say Steggall’s "modus operandi is playing the victim and looking for sympathy".

    Cameron then steps in to try and smooth the way to a new day: “I’m not proud of [describing Steggall as an idiot]. I shouldn’t have used that word … but I never asked to be in the limelight. She is the one seeking public office. She should be able to cop a bit of criticism."

    So that's all sorted, then.

    Meanwhile, left-wing lobby group GetUp apologised for an advertisement that allegedly portrayed Tony Abbott as a lifesaver in red budgie smugglers.

    ABC / GetUp

    In the ad, "Abbott" declines to help a drowning swimmer. The portrayal is of such a quality that if the actor wasn't eating an unpeeled onion, you may not have known it was meant to be Tony Abbott.

    Still, it was enough to generate some heat...

    Forget me, but @GetUp should apologise to Australia’s 150,000 plus surf lifesavers for mocking what they do. https://t.co/3uvNyT8ZL2

    @TonyAbbottMHR @GetUp Especially in the context of a father and son lifesaving duo dying over the weekend while in action. We should praise anyone who risks their life to save others - including you @TonyAbbottMHR. On behalf of everyone, even those that claim to despise you, thank you for your work.

    GetUp gauged the mood and backed away with haste.

    Peter Parks / AFP / Getty Images

    “We have the greatest respect for Australia’s lifesavers and apologise for the insensitivity of the timing and subject matter of our planned ad,” the group said in a statement.

    “We have heard the criticism of the Royal Lifesavers and are pulling our satirical ad about Tony Abbott’s inaction on climate change, which was slated to be airing in cinemas next week."

    The Coalition says it will work to discourage gay conversion therapy, The Guardian reports.

    Daniel Munoz / AAP

    On Tuesday Labor said it would work with the states to introduce a ban on gay conversion therapy.

    Morrison was asked about this on Sky News and said: “I don’t support gay conversion therapy, don’t recommend it, never have but it’s ultimately a matter for the states.”

    But a letter to Equality Australia, signed by Liberal federal director Andrew Hirst, the Coalition appeared to expand on Morrison's pledge, saying “the use of conversion therapy has long been discredited with no scientific or medical evidence to support its use.

    "The Morrison government remains committed to addressing the mental health of all Australians, including the LGBTI community, and this also relates to opposition to gay conversion therapy.

    “The government will work with the states, which have legal responsibility in this area, to ensure such practices are not supported or occurring.”

    Next. One Nation's Pauline Hanson's tweet about water security was a bit Trumpian.

    A lot of fake news being spread about One Nation's plan for water security. One Nation is advocating for a "Hybrid Bradfield Scheme". We want to use the original proposal as inspiration but update it to make sure it works! Human ingenuity can deliver Australia water security! -PH

    And, finally, the first TV debate between Morrison and Shorten will be held in Perth on April 29 and televised on 7TWO, TV Blackbox reported.

    AAP

    The debate will be hosted by Weekend Sunrise's Basil Zempilas.

    It will air live in every capital city except for Adelaide. Sorry Adelaide.

    Contact Peter Holmes at peter.holmes@buzzfeed.com.

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